Planning Commission Says City Council Should Deny Permits for Proposed Development
Developers for a proposed urban farm in the Charlottesville-Albemarle area received a massive blow on Tuesday night from the Charlottesville Planning Commission.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Developers for a proposed urban farm in the Charlottesville-Albemarle area received a massive blow on Tuesday night from the Charlottesville Planning Commission.
The fate of the proposed 30-unit apartment complex and adjacent farm land now lies in the hands of City Council.
On Tuesday, December 11, much to the excitement of audience members, city planners voted three to two to recommend that City Council should deny a rezone and special-use permit that’s critical to the development of this project.
A proposed 30-unit apartment complex-urban farm hybrid at 918 Nassau Street along the Charlottesville-Albemarle line has been met with great resistance from the public since it was first announced in April.
“I think that building new homes on a flood plain is a bad idea,” David Katz, who lives in Charlottesville, said.
Tuesday night, a half-dozen community members expressed concern once again about the project's proximity to the flood plain.
“This is marshland, it’s a natural filter for silt and other pollutants keeping them out of Moores Creek,” David said.
“If Charlottesville were not plum out of land that is suitable for development, this application would not have been submitted,” Karen Katz, who lives in Charlottesville, said.
Developer Justin Shimp is seeking a rezone that would allow him to put up 30 apartments.
He adamantly defends his right to build on the parcel of land.
“That's not actually part of your vote her," Shimp said. "The flood plain development is permitted by right. So it’s not a question of, like, will this be built there or not, it’s a matter of what it will be.”
Three of the proposed 30 units are set to be affordable housing for 12 years, but that stipulation was not enough for planners to approve the necessary rezone and special-use permit that would allow this project to proceed as currently drawn.
“Three units is not really gonna move the needle on the affordable housing crisis,” Taneia Dowell, a city planner, said.
City Council will ultimately have the final say, but approving this project would go against the recommendation of the planning commission.
“You all would be sending forth recommendations to City Council and they could choose a different route on the rezoning,” Missy Creasy, the assistant director of neighborhood development services, said.
Now, City Council will have to hold its own public hearing about this project.
In the end, if councilors decide to approve the rezone and special-use permit, the planning commission has provided a list of recommended stipulations for council if this development moves forward.